"I'm on a diet. I only eat cupcakes on days that ends in a Y."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Buckeye Cupcakes - Week 6

This week's cupcakes were inspired by the delicious buckeye candies.  I'm really please with these cupcakes, even if it took me two attempts to successfully make the delicious peanut butter frosting. The first time around i used all natural peanut butter to make the frosting. The frosting was extremely oily in texture.  I threw it in the trash and made it with Jiff.  DELICIOUS!!!I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe, followed by my favorite peanut butter frosting recipe and then decided to dip the cupcakes in a traditional chocolate coating used for making candy buckeyes! Make sure to put the peanut butter frosted cupcakes in the freezer for at least 30 minutes and then dip.
Three Excellent Helpers!!!
Beatty's Chocolate Cake
Adapted from: The Barefoot Contessa at Home Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee ( I used decaf)
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Fill lined cupcake pans 1/2 full.  Bake for approximately 17 minutes

Peanut Butter Frosting
Yield: Enough to frost 12 cupcakes ( I tripled the recipe to generously frost 28 cupcakes.)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
(Recipe from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten)
The Chocolate Dip
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T canola oil

Combine in a double boiler.  Watch closely and stir until melted. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes - Week 5

When I decided to make these I thought, "My goodness this might be perfection in a cupcake!"  Then I actually started making them.....The final product is acceptable, but I do not think I will look back on week five with bright and shiny memories. 

I did not love the batter for this cake.  It was  unpredictable.  If I baked the cupcakes for 20 minutes exactly, the tooth pick came out clean, and they looked beautiful.  After I took them out of the oven, the center of the cake fell.  The middle falling only slightly bothered me, because a sunken middle means more room for frosting!  When I put the second round of cupcakes in I left them in for two extra minutes in hopes that the center would not fall.  Success!  They did not fall.  Fail! They were much to dry.   This recipe seems to be extremely sensitive.  Jerome (my hubby and resident cupcake taster)  believes the sunken middle cupcakes were much much better.  I tend to agree.  So if you bake these, watch them closely and take the cupcakes out as soon as they are done.  In my oven that means 20 min bake time.  No more, no less. 

The Cake

This recipe was adapted from Dulcedo
Makes a little over 24 cupcakes
1/2 cup pureed oranges ( I used 3 oranges)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon orange extract
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Peel oranges (removing any seeds and as much of the white pith as possible) and puree in a blender or food processor. Measure out 1/2 cup of the liquidy pulp. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine orange pulp, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, orange extract, sugar, and vegetable oil.

With the mixer on low, gradually add in the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated.

Fill your cupcake containers  a scant 2/3 full and bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.(These cupcakes rise, rise rise, so make sure to pay attention to the scant 2/3rd filling)

The Frostings/Fillings

Orange Frosting
A Dulcedo original
1 cup butter, room temperature
6-8 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 cup orange juice (preferably fresh)

To make the orange frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium-high speed until creamy. Add half of the sifted sugar, the vanilla, the orange extract, and the orange juice. Beat until combined. Gradually add the remaining sugar until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.

When I made this I followed the directions, until the first half of the sugar was added. Then I added more oj, orange extract and powdered  sugar until it tasted like a dreamsicle.   I did not however pay attention to how much I added.  :(  Sorry.  

Marshmallow Fluff
Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup water
5 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

To make the marshmallow fluff:
Heat 1 1/2 cups sugar, the corn syrup, and 2/3 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 235 degrees.

Meanwhile, put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Reduce speed to medium-low. Add the hot syrup in a slow, steady stream down sides of bowl. Raise speed to medium-high; beat until stiff peaks begin to form. With the mixer still running, gradually add the vanilla and continue beating until the fluff is smooth and cool, about 7 minutes.

A Rachel Side Note:  I did not originally plan on using the Martha Stewart Fluff recipe.  It gets rave reviews, but it has corn syrup in it, a n ingredient I usually run away from.  Then I started to wonder, "How much better can it really be?"  So I made it.  Personally I will not make it again.   Martha, I love you, but not so much your fluff.  It is good, but not good enough to entice me to replace it with my slightly "healthier" version. 

Decorating the Cupcakes 

In attempt to make use of the cupcakes that were a little dry and the ones that were really moist I decided to decorate them differently.  
The moist cupcakes with sunken tops, were piped with the marshmallow fluff and the orange frosting at the same time?  How does one achieve such a look?  Simple!  Fill one side of your piping bag with type A frosting and then fill the other half with type B.  I piped it on generously.  


The cupcakes that were a little dry, I filled with the marshmallow fluff.  Then I piped the orange frosting on top.  I was tired of piping the usual cupcake swoosh on top, so I piped the orange frosting to look like a rose.    

For this particular cupcake I prefer the double frosting "swoosh".  It looks a little more whimsical  and resembles the top of and ice cream cone.  When presented with both options, the kid inside me will almost always choose the "swoosh."    Which do you like the look of? 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Zucchini Cupcakes - Week 4

In honor of the abundant zucchini that is being harvested from my garden, I decided to use it in cupcakes. I think these qualify more as a muffin than a cupcake.  I'm  going to count them as my cupcake of the week, because my intention was to make cupcakes! I think this recipe is good, but it almost seems to be missing something.  I might add a touch of crystallized ginger to the batter next time. The frosting makes this treat much sweeter than I initially anticipated.  I think this cupcake would be nicely complimented by a good cup of coffee.   If you take some time to make this recipe let me know what you think in the comment section!

I used a recipe from the Taste of Home webpage, but I made several changes to it.  I have noted my changes with the recipe.


  • 3 eggs

  • 1-1/3 cups sugar (I used just under 1cup)

  • 1/2 cup canola oil (I used 1/2 cup applesauce)

  • 1/2 cup orange juice (I squeezed my own)

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (I used 1/2tsp almond and 1/2 tsp vanilla)

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour ( I used 1 cup whole wheat and 1 1/2 c white flour)

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I used a 1/4 because I know my children shy away from the ground clove taste)

  • Directions

    • In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice and extract. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to egg mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini.
    • Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. 
    I intentionally cut back on the sugar because I thought I would add a caramel filling.  (My husband thinks this sounds disgusting, but I thought i was genius.)  The caramel icing filling I planned on using is deliciously sweet.  I would not make this icing everyday, because it takes a bit of tender love and care.  However it does compliment these cupcakes extremely well!  If you make this icing remember you really need to stir stir stir.  It burns very easily.  This recipe is from My Yellow Bluff

    Caramel Icing
    4 ½ c. sugar (save 1/2 c. to brown)
    3 sticks margarine
    1 large can Pet Milk
    1 t. Vanilla
    Mix margarine,milk and 4 cups sugar.  Heat and stir until sugar dissolves.  Melt the ½ c. sugar in a small iron skillet,stirring constantly until brown.  Add to the other mixture,stirring and cooking to soft “ball”stage.  (Soft “ball”stage –Drop a drop of caramel into water to see if it forms a ball).  Let cool.  Add vanilla.  

    This afternoon I had a calm house because all the children were napping at the same time.  I thought, "This is the perfect time to make this time consuming frosting"   As a Mommy, I should have known that the children would instinctively know to wake up just as the sugar was almost but not quite melted. I burnt the sugar when I went to attend to the needs of the kids.  I used it anyways, but the icing had a difficult texture as well as a slightly toasty aftertaste.  I couldn't bare to let the half hour of stirring go to waste, so I put a thin layer of the frosting on top of the cupcakes.  This looked anything but appetizing, so this evening  I added yet another layer of caramel frosting that looks and pipes more like butter cream. The recipe I used was a part of the original Taste of Home recipe.   

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 

  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed

  • 1/4 cup 2% milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar

  • Directions:

  •  Combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm.

  • Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes

  • Saturday, August 13, 2011

    Carrot Cake Cupcakes- Week 3

    Is it a cupcake or is it a muffin?  Maybe it is a little of both!  Either way I'm very pleased with how these turned out.  The cupcake and icing recipe is from the cook book The Cleaner Plate Club.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this cookbook and my family enjoys it as well.  I would highly recommended it to everyone, but especially those who are interested in whole foods.  As a cooking novice, I have found this book extremely informative, and the recipes are tasty.  Now back to the cupcakes....
    Ginger-Carrot-Raisin Cupcakes
    1 1/2 c plus 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 c brown sugar
    1/2 c canola oil or applesauce (I used canola oil)
    3 eggs
    1 tsp orange extract
    3 1/2 cup shredded carrots
    1 c raisins
    2 T chopped crystallized ginger
    1. Preheat the oven. 350 degrees
    2. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, and mix well.
    3. In a seperate large bowl, combine brown sugar, oil, eggs, and orange extract. Cream with an electric mixer.  Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing just until blended.  Fold in carrots, raisins, and ginger.
    4. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups with liners (When I made this it made almost 20) Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean. Cool completely.

    Cream Cheese Frosting-
    4 ounces cream cheese, softened
    4 T butter, softened
    1 tsp orange extract
    2 c confectioners sugar

    Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Cream with an electric mixer until fluffy. 

    Candied Carrot Curls

    I topped the cupcakes with candied carrot curls.  I followed the process I found on The Cup Project Blog. At first look, these seemed a little difficult.  They were much easier than I anticipated, so don't be intimidated by all the step.  With that said, it took me two attempts to successfully make these unique finishing touches.  The first time around I followed the recipe exactly, or at least I think I did.  The bake times were much too long.  I don't know if this is because my oven is extremely off or if my carrot curls were too thin.  When I took them out of the oven they crumbled before I could curl them. boys had a tasty carrot candy snack while I started Candied Carrot Curls round 2.  This time I changed the water sugar ratio and monitored the cook time more closely. I have noted the changes I made in the recipe. 


    1 large carrot or 2 medium carrots
    1 cup water (I used 1 1/4c)
    1 cup sugar

    1. Peel layers from carrot lengthwise on one side with peeler until you begin to get wide slices. Peel wide strips, reserving them, until you get about 15 ( I used the entire carrot)
    2. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
    3. Add carrot strips and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. 
    4. Strain through a sieve into a bowl, discarding syrup.
    5. Let stand 15 minutes.
    6. Preheat oven to 225 F with rack in middle.
    7. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick liner, then arrange candied carrot slices flat in 1 layer on sheet

    1. Bake until dry but still flexible, about 30 minutes. (I baked mine for about 13 minutes)
    2. Wind carrot strips, 1 at a time, around end of handle of a wooden spoon in a loose spiral, then slip off each curl and return, seam sides down, to lined baking sheet
    1. Return curls to oven to dry until crisp, 30 to 45 minutes more. ( I baked mine for about 15 minutes)
    2. Cool completely on baking sheet.  Carrot curls can be made 5 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Recrisp in a 250 F oven 10 minutes. Don't put them on your cake until just before serving or they will get

    Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes - Week2

    I was craving strawberry short cake and I came across a delightful recipe for a light strawberries and cream frosting on  It is as delicious as she claims!  I made a cold oven pound cake in cupcake size and topped it with the strawberries and cream frosting.  It was a delicious summer treat! 
    Cold Oven Pound Cake

    • 1 1/2 C unsalted butter
    • 3 C sugar
    • 6 eggs (cold)
    • 3 C sifted cake flour (I used all-purpose flour since that was all I had on hand, and it worked well)
    • 1 C whole milk, VERY cold (I used Skim)
    • 1 t vanilla extract
    • 1 t almond extract
    1. Cream butter and sugar together.
    2. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
    3. Beat in flour, one cup at a time, alternating with milk.
    4. Add extracts.
    5. Beat on medium-high to high speed for two minutes, scraping down sides of bowl.
    6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
    7. Place on middle rack in a COLD oven and bake at 275 F for 1 hour
    Strawberry Whipped Cream Recipe
    • 1 C heavy whipping cream
    • 1/3 C sugar (I doubled this amount and used confectioners sugar)
    • 4 T food processed strawberries (take some fresh strawberries, wash them, remove the stems, and throw them in the food processor until they become a thick, seedy liquid)
    1. Whip cream until it looks like whipped cream.
    2. Mix in sugar.
    3. Mix in strawberries until just combined.
    4. Be sure to frost your cupcakes before you eat all of the strawberry whipped cream

    S'more Cupcakes - Week 1

     I chose these cupcakes for my nephew Caleb's birthday.  They were staying overnight at our house after a week of camp.  We also delivered them to our neighbors as a way of saying  "We think you are great!"

     I had two excellent little bakers helping me, and we had a lot of fun!  The bottom of the cupcake is a graham cracker crust.  I put four marshmallows on top of the crust and chopped chocolate that was 60% cocoa.  I filled the wrappers 3/4 full with my favorite chocolate cake recipe.  I frosted them with a homemade marshmallow cream frosting.  To add a campfire touch I toasted the frosting in my oven's broiler.  I finished it off with half of a square of  Hershey's chocolate.